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Sally Denton

Sally Denton is the author of American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857. Her previous books investigated corruption in Las Vegas and Kentucky.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Little, Brown, $7). A timeless story with grand universal themes. A brilliant novel of racism, classism, justice, integrity, loss of innocence, and redemption.

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (Harvest Books, $14). This fictionalized account of the rise and machinations of Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana is a masterful tale of political corruption and a compelling portent of American demagogues to follow.

Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (Delacorte Press, $16). One of the most creative American novels ever written, Little Big Man is a stunningly irreverent view of American history told through the eyes of an improbable, 111-year-old, half-white, half–Native American man. It’s as profound in plot as it is in character development.

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (Vintage, $11). A story of papal corruption, spirituality, morality, and, not least, adventure, set against the poetic landscape of Santa Fe. It’s based on the life of Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, who in the mid-19th-century organized the Catholic Diocese of New Mexico.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (Perennial, $14). From his unforgettable opening line on through the magical maze of his prose, García Márquez captures the essence of humanity in this epic story of a fictionalized South American village and the descending generations of its founder.

A Confederacy of Dunces

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